Government Transparency: How Does Maine Make Information Accessible to the Public?

In advance of the June 7 public hearing regarding whether the public will be allowed access to electronic court records, we will look at overall transparency in Maine state government, from access to information through FOIA requests to financial disclosure measures, accountability laws and ethics agencies. A 2015 report by the Center for Public Integrity ranked…

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Maine state agency holds back a simple record, flouting public access law

A state agency withheld a public record from the Bangor Daily News even as it emailed the same record to the state’s public access watchdog. Such unexplained instances of withholding records are “becoming the norm,” according to the attorney who helped write Maine’s freedom of access law. The small case over a simple record —…

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NEFAC Opposes Maine Legislation Requiring Advance Payment of All Record Request Costs

The New England First Amendment Coalition today opposed Maine legislation that would cause unnecessary delays to the release of public records.

The legislation, L.D. 1432, allows an agency or official to “require payment of all costs before the public record is provided to the requester” under the state’s Freedom of Access Act.

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Maine lawmakers routinely use private email for public business

Private email for public business was a front and center controversy during the presidential election.

Now the I-Team discovers some Maine lawmakers routinely bypass the state email server and use their personal accounts for state business, raising questions of transparency and accountability.

Even when they're in session, most Maine lawmakers are never far from their devices and their emails, in constant contact with lobbyists, donors, and their constituents.

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Transparency bill gets second life in Maine Legislature

A state senator from Cape Neddick is hoping her initiative aimed at improving government transparency will be revived this week.

Democrat Dawn Hill will have to convince at least one Republican leader to support her efforts to enhance the flow of information between state agencies and the Legislature. The legislative council rejected Hill's bill last month along party lines, but the sponsor says there are new developments that warrant a second look.

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Maine Supreme Court ordered to release 911 transcripts in Biddeford murder case

From Portland Press Herald: (Nov. 14, 2013) The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled unanimously in favor of the Portland Press Herald’s appeal requesting authorities to release transcripts of 911 calls in a Biddeford murder case, opening the door on whether other 911 recordings are public record.

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AP: Records show Maine gov. tried to jam wind plan

From The Sacramento Bee: AUGUSTA, Maine — Before its public push to have Maine reconsider wind energy proposals, Gov. Paul LePage’s administration worked behind the scenes to explicitly derail Norwegian company Statoil’s multimillion-dollar agreement with the state for an offshore wind project, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

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